About District 225 > Schools/Programs > Glenbrook Academy

Questions & Answers

Q:      What traits do successful Academy applicants possess?
A:      Successful Academy applicants tend to enjoy challenges; take academic risks; read willingly and enthusiastically; want to excel in a world language; care more about learning than about earning grades; take responsibility for their learning; recognize that most ideas and issues are not black-and-white; enjoy sharing ideas with others; respect a diversity of viewpoints; enjoy creative, problem-based projects with open-ended outcomes; understand that confusion is often part of real learning.

Q:      What are the criteria for placement into The Academy?
A:      Selection of eighth-grade applicants for placement into The Academy is based on 1) scores earned on the Terra Nova tests in the areas of reading and language; 2) middle or junior high school placement information, including grades earned, study habits ratings, and three teacher recommendations; 3) application form, including personal essay; 4) impromptu writing derived from a brief reading on a current global topic; and 5) personal interview with Academy faculty and students.
Q:      Are there quotas of boys and girls, Glenbrook North and Glenbrook South students in each entering class?
A:      During the placement process for the incoming ninth-grade class, The Academy’s faculty seek to identify those thirty students whose academic and personal qualifications best suit them for success in the program. In this process, rigid quotas are not maintained, though the principal of balance between genders and schools is always a consideration.
Q:      Can students enter The Academy in their sophomore or junior year?
A.      No.  The curriculum is designed as a four-year sequential program, and each year thirty eighth graders are selected for the incoming ninth grade Academy class.
Q:      Are grades in The Academy weighted?
A:      Yes, they are weighted the same as honors and Advanced Placement courses: an A is worth 5 points, a B 4 points, a C 3 points, and a D 2 points.
Q:      Is the academic work in The Academy more difficult than in the high schools’  honors curriculum?
A:      The distinctive feature of the Academy curriculum is the linking of English, social studies, and the world language program.  The Academy places higher emphasis on the quality of student performance than on its quantity.  Academy students are not assigned more work than their peers in honors classes.  However, they are expected to demonstrate excellence in responsibility, initiative, and critical thinking.  In this sense, the Academy is generally more demanding than many honors courses.
Q:      Are grades in Academy courses typically lower than grades in honors courses?
A:      No. In a study conducted at Glenbrook South, we learned that, on average, students who left the Academy and entered honors courses continued to earn the same grades. Furthermore, with few exceptions, Academy students consistently rank in the top fifth of their classes at both high schools. Finally, Academy students from both schools annually garner a generous share of awards and scholarships.
Q:      How do Academy faculty work together?
A:      Grade-level teaching teams collaborate to develop appropriate learning goals, effective assignments and assessments, and innovative instructional techniques.  Though all three teachers are not necessarily in the classroom at the same time each day, they regularly teach “in tandem” each quarter and often sit in on each other’s classes.  A typical, five-day week includes two days on which all three courses meet for 50 minutes, and three days on which two of the three courses meet for 75 minutes.  Such an arrangement focuses both in-class instruction and out-of-class homework more efficiently.  Aside from grade-level teaching teams, subject-specific teams (English, social studies, and world language) meet periodically to review, research, and revise curriculum.
Q:      How does The Academy’s schedule mesh with the schools’ regular schedules?
A:      During the first semester, freshman and senior classes meet at GBN, while sophomore and junior classes meet at GBS.  During the second semester, all classes switch schools.  At GBS, Academy meets each day during Periods 1-3;  at GBN, Academy meets during Blocks 2-3 and 4-5.  Academy students take a shuttle bus or, when permitted, may drive between schools.
Q:      Do Academy students have time to fit math and science courses into their schedules?
A:      Yes.  All Glenbrook students must take math and science courses and most Academy students exceed the graduation requirements in those areas.  In fact, many Academy graduates are enrolled in engineering, pre-medicine, and other math/science/technology programs in college, and later choose these careers with great success.
Q:      What about elective courses including applied arts and fine arts?
A:      In addition to the three Academy courses as well as, in most cases, math, science, and physical education, Academy students may take other elective courses as time and course offerings permit. 
Q:      Do Academy students have the time and opportunity to participate in co-curricular and community activities?
A:      They certainly do:  Academy students are hardly hermits. They are involved in the full range of school activities, and outside of school they pursue interests and passions such as club sports and private music lessons.  However, The Academy requires serious and consistent academic commitment of its students, and the truth is, simply, this:  No one can do it all. Students and their parents must realize that choices have to be made in high school as they will throughout life.
Q:      Are Academy students required to study during the summer?
A:      At each grade level, students are assigned one required book for summer reading.  Early in the school year, they discuss the book with their teachers and may be asked to write a paper on the book.
Q:      Are Academy students required to travel at any time during their four years?
A:      While Academy teachers encourage their students to augment their studies with domestic and international travel, there are no required trips.  Instead, teachers may opt to provide students with varied travel opportunities, including service learning abroad.       
Q:      Does The Academy provide an advantage in applying to competitive colleges and universities? 
A:      Yes.  Competitive colleges continue to emphasize the quality of the high school program. One competitive university’s admissions officer recently wrote,  “Our admissions decisions are heavily influenced by the degree of difficulty of the student’s curriculum.  We are more favorably impressed when students accept rather than avoid serious academic challenges.”  Colleges and universities receive a lengthy description of the Academy program and curriculum with each admissions application.  We are confident that colleges and universities are well acquainted with the nature and the quality of The Academy.